China Transfer Station Committee members agreed unanimously on two monetary issues at their Nov. 16 meeting.
One was to ask selectmen to choose an engineer to design a cover for the pre-crusher and controls beside the mixed-waste hopper at the transfer station. Committee members recommend an engineered plan because they want the new cover attached to the present structure.
Building the cover is included in the draft five-year facilities plan as one of two items recommended for fiscal year 2022-23. The cost is tentatively estimated at $15,000.
The other project the draft plan now proposes for the coming fiscal year is providing electricity in the free for the taking building, so volunteers and “customers” can enjoy heat and can test donated electrical appliances. That project cost is estimated at $5,000, Transfer Station Manager Ronald Marois said.
Committee Chairman Lawrence Sikora plans to ask for final approval of the five-year plan at the committee’s Dec. 14 meeting. Once approved, it will serve as a recommended guide for expenditure requests to the select board and voters.
At the Nov. 16 meeting, there was brief discussion of buying a screen for compost. The material is double-composted, but without being screened it contains small sticks, rocks and other debris unwelcome in residents’ gardens.
Marois said he has no trouble getting rid of the unscreened compost. Committee members took no action.
The second monetary decision was on the committee’s requested budget for FY 2022-23.
For the current year, Sikora asked for and received $1,000. His intention was to support members attending Maine solid waste conferences and workshops, visiting other towns’ facilities and otherwise expanding their knowledge.
In October, he and Chris Diesch, one of Palermo’s two representatives on the committee, went to a multi-day conference for which the registration fee was $275 apiece.
When Sikora asked that the two fees come from the committee’s budget, some China select board members asked why China money should cover Diesch’s fee. Board members ultimately decided, on a split vote, to pay this time but hereafter to expect Palermo to support its own committee members (see The Town Line, Nov. 11, p. 2).
Transfer Station Committee members made it clear at the Nov. 16 meeting that they think all committee members should be equally supported by committee money. They emphasized the usefulness of regional and state meetings and the desirability of having several members attend to provide different perspectives. They also pointed out that the $1,000 budget would not have covered registration for even the one conference if all eight committee members had attended.
Consequently, they authorized Sikora to ask for a $2,500 Transfer Station Committee budget in 2022-23. Robert Kurek, Palermo’s other representative on the committee, abstained on the vote; Disch was absent.
Sikora shared some of the things he learned at the October conference.
A decision on increased bag fees for Palermo residents was again postponed, this time because the cost of the bags is apparently going to rise substantially due to supply chain issues. Palermo has been given the required six-months’ notice that there will be an increase in the spring, so Kurek had no problem with the exact amount being left undecided.
Committee members voted unanimously to buy 17 cases of bags their supplier is said to have on hand.
In addition to the Dec. 14 meeting of the full committee, a Visioning Subcommittee meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 1. Both meetings will be at 9 a.m. in the portable building behind the China town office.
Committee corrects two false impressions
China Transfer Station Committee members want to correct two false impressions that they said are creating problems at the transfer station.
One is that the free for the taking building is a place to dispose of things like computers, televisions and worn-out furniture, to avoid paying disposal fees. The free for the taking building only accepts items that other residents can happily take home and use. Its space is limited.
The second error is the belief that residents of neighboring towns besides Palermo can obtain China transfer station RFID (radio frequency identification) placards. Placards are issued only to residents of China and, by contract, Palermo. China has no contract with any other town.